OTTAWA, Ontario Friday, October 16, 2020 — Every day, Black business owners and entrepreneurs make invaluable contributions to communities across the country, and their success is essential to Canada’s economic recovery and future prosperity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated existing systemic barriers faced by Black entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized business owners in Canada.
While progress has been made, in advancing equitable access to support and opportunities, much more needs to be done to better help Black business owners and entrepreneurs, and address anti-Black racism.
In light of this, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, last month, announced investments of up to nearly $221 million in partnership with Canadian financial institutions – including up to nearly $93 million from the government of Canada over the next four years – to launch Canada’s first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program.
“The pandemic has shone a light on the inequalities that disproportionately hurt Black Canadians, and has underscored the need to restart our economy, in a way that allows all Canadians an equal chance to succeed,” said Prime Minister Trudeau.
“That is why, today – thanks, in part, to the leadership, advocacy, and expertise of Black business owners and Black-led organizations – we are announcing Canada’s first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program.
“As we move forward, this program will help support Black entrepreneurs and create new opportunities for Black-owned businesses, so they are well-positioned for our economic recovery.”
The program is intended to help thousands of Black business owners and entrepreneurs, across the country, recover from the coronavirus crisis and grow their businesses.
The program will include:
- up to $53 million to develop and implement a new National Ecosystem Fund to support Black-led business organizations across the country. It will help Black business owners and entrepreneurs access funding and capital, mentorship, financial planning services, and business training.
- up to $33.3 million in support through the new Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund that will provide loans of between $25,000 and $250,000 for Black business owners and entrepreneurs. The government of Canada is also partnering with financial institutions, including RBC, BMO Financial Group, Scotiabank, CIBC, National Bank, TD, Vancity, and Alterna Savings, to make up to $128 million available in additional lending support.
- up to $6.5 million to create and sustain a new Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub that will collect data on the state of Black entrepreneurship in Canada and help identify Black entrepreneurs’ barriers to success as well as opportunities for growth. The Hub will be run by Black-led community and business organizations, in partnership with educational institutions.
The government also committed to working closely with Black business owners and Black-led organizations across Canada, so that the new Black Entrepreneurship Program reflects the realities and needs of Black Canadians.
The new program builds on the government’s work to address systemic racism against Black Canadians, including taking steps to advance Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, justice reforms, modern policing structures and standards, and enhanced local community supports for young Black Canadians.